Turkish fighters tried to badger Simitis’s jet

Turkish fighter jets attempted to harass the executive jet flying Prime Minister Costas Simitis to a border town in Thrace on Tuesday, reports said yesterday. But the six F-16 fighters, which were armed with air-to-air missiles and were on a course that would have cut across the flight path of the prime ministerial jet, were intercepted by Greek jets south of Lemnos and inside the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR). Fierce simulated dogfights then ensued some 15 miles away from Simitis’s jet, which was heading for Alexandroupolis. The Turkish air force has on several instances harassed aircraft carrying Greek cabinet ministers, usually on flights to and from Cyprus. Yesterday, a pair of Turkish F-16s flew dangerously close to a Greek C-130 military transport plane in the Athens FIR between Chios and Lesvos before being chased off.

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